Vitter asks Obama for federal witnesses at climate change hearing

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“The American people should not be kept in the dark regarding the scope of the actions the Administration is taking to theoretically control our climate – actions that have significant potential to negatively impact employment, job creation, and our national debt,” he added.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the head of the committee, has so far declined to invite administration officials to testify at the hearing, Vitter said. However, she previously told reporters that she would consider having federal officials testify at later hearings on climate change. 

In his letter, Vitter specifically noted that he would like the White House to make Heather Zichal, the president’s deputy assistant for energy and climate change, and John Holdren, an assistant for science and technology, available for the hearing.

The October hearing is not currently listed on the committee’s website, but it would follow a July event in which the panel heard from scientists and policy advocates about the impacts of climate change.

Republicans asked for Obama administration officials to testify at that hearing but were rebuffed. Boxer said at the time that she wanted the panel to hear from "non-political" people.

The president’s climate agenda relies on a host of executive actions that go around Congress, which has largely been unable to agree on new environmental laws. At the center of the effort are new Environmental Protection Agency regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants.

Republicans have opposed the plan, and charged that the president is waging a “war on coal.”